Category Archives: Current Event Musings


I was thinking of posting about Gaia before hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the historic typhoon that left a million people homeless in India.  Beyonce’ and Jennifer Lawrence are weighing in, so I figured I would too.  Gaia theory is constructed around the notion that the Earth and it’s biosphere is a living system.  James Lovelock, an environmental scientist published his first book on the theory in 1979.  Using the Goddess Gaia as it’s namesake was the idea of William Golding, who came up with another great title for a book, “Lord of The Flies.” Environmentalists love Gaia theory, because it’s poetic. Environmental Scientists have less affection for it, mostly because it is a theory that exists outside. of mechanistic science which has been dominant since Newton had an apple fall on his head.

      I first encountered Gaia Theory in 1993.  I was getting a Master’s Degree in Psychology at The California Institute of Integral Studies.  I was taking a class with Ralph Metzner called “Green Psychology.”  Ralph was a member of the triumvirate, along with Tim Leary and Richard Alpert, who did the Psychedelic Research at Harvard in the early 1960’s that unleashed psychedelics onto a generation.  Tim Leary subsequently pursued the life of polysubstance addicted psychedelic prophet, and Ram Dass had become a Guru for the baby boomers, but Ralph with his severe intellectual German mind, had just kept digging at the mysterious roots of being human.  The only indications of his 60’s origins were a ponytail, and the occasional medicine pouch he wore hanging from his neck, both of which I had found unfortunate.  When he spoke passionately, I experienced it like sunshine shining through an ornately designed crystal chandelier.  He was blindingly brilliant, and more than a little intimidating.  In fact, I didn’t write my final paper for his class, because I felt frightened of exposing myself to his piercing intellect.  I took an incomplete, and a few months later, realized I was going to need a grade in his class to graduate.  I approached him hesitantly and reminded him that I’d taken his class, but hadn’t written the final paper, but would now like to.  “You took my class six months ago, didn’t write the final paper, and now would like me to read it, and give you a grade?” He spoke incredulously with a slight German accent that I had always experienced as menacing.  I nodded sheepishly, embarrassed by my desire for him to help me solve my problem.  “Well, that is such a fucking bold request, I have to say, ‘Yes,'”he responded.  As I remember it, he may have even smiled.  I know I did.  When I got the paper back, I had received an A, that made me extremely proud.

     I don’t have the paper anymore.  But I’d like to share what I learned in his class.  Ralph had long since stopped proselytizing about psychedelics, though the scuttlebutt was that didn’t mean he was no longer using them.  But his passion(as it had become for many psychedelicists) was the environment.  Psychedelics had lead him to the awareness of nature, and the way it was suffering by the stewardship of humanity.  In the sixties, Jim Morrison sang(mostly likely from a psychedelic state, “What have we done to the Earth? What have we done to our fair sister?”  Ralph was still exploring this question.  But he was more focused on the psychological suffering resulting from being cut off from an intuitive and nurturing relationship with nature as the organic source of existence, and also from the lack of relationship with the deeper intelligence behind nature’s mechanics.  He thought all kinds of psychological difficulties had their origins in this alienation.  Things like eating disorders, addictions,  and a even physical diseases had their origins in people’s alienation from nature, or from having been raised by people who were at least a generation removed from a meaningful relationship with the natural world.

     Ralph made a very convincing argument.  A lot of his theories were influenced by his exploration of indigenous shamanism, and it was much more fundamental than the psychodynamic theories about psychopathology I had encountered throughout graduate school.  But it was in my exposure to Gaia Theory where my head was really turned.  Al Gore’s environmental tome had been published the year before and we were early in the Clinton Presidency, and there was a real sense of optimism about the world.   I remember asking his opinion of Gore’s book, and his response was “Those assholes know exactly what’s going on with carbon in the atmosphere, and they won’t do a thing about it, watch.” Sadly, there was very little that they did do. In more recent times, Barack Obama stated in his speech the night of his election that history would see his election as a time when the rising oceans receded and the earth cooled.” Sadly, although he was both informed and inspired, he also was limited in what he could accomplish(The Paris Accord notwithstanding).  Global Warming had been building momentum for a long time even before Gore’s book,  and recent revelations show that Chevron has known about the effects of rising carbon levels in the atmosphere for over fifty years.  One has only to watch “Soylent Green”, produced in 1973,  to realize that the effects of Global Warming which we are now being experienced were being prophesized long ago.

    Ralph wasn’t a scientist, though science was not hard for him to understand.  He was a psychologist with interests in indigenous wisdom traditions.  But he liked Gaia theory and explained it well.  To him, the Earth and its’ biosphere was an organic system.  It was a body.  Like a cell, or an animal, or a human body.  And like all bodies, what it worked towards was homeostasis.  It wanted to function ideally, and was composed to do so.  The pre-industrial age composition of the environment was designed for ideal survivabilty of all the species who inhabited the earth.  Gaia theory espoused that there was a keen intelligence behind this composition.  It wasn’t random, it wasn’t chance, and it was as fragile as all inspired creations.  Gaia theory didn’t care so much what the intelligence behind the design was, just that it had an intention and a purpose.

     Since human beings invented combustible engines, this fragile balance of the atmosphere has been under assault.  Carbon, that had been stored in the earth as decomposed organic material, for millions of years was being harvested and burned.  Gaia theory would posit that there was an intelligence behind storing decomposed organic matter this way.  That it was stored this way for a reason, and that it was human hubris that thought this system could be hacked without consequences.  The consequence of burning carbon and releasing it into the atmosphere is a warmer climate.  But Gaia theory would also state something a little bit more far out.  That man’s lack of wisdom in doing this creates a feedback system where Gaia protects herself.  The source of this warming is man.  This warming is the same kind of warming you get in an organic organism when a virus starts to multiply.  In order to kill the virus, a fever is created that makes the host a less hospitable place to live.  In Gaia theory, the virus is MAN.  Through his rising population and utilization of limited resource, he creates an imbalance, and imposes himself on the other species(through mass extinctions) designed to maintain the balance of the ecosystem.  Thus, one species creates all the imbalance,  and through that species insatiable need for energy to be derived from organic resources(decomposed carbon) that species releases the fever that will be his own destruction.

     Far out, yes? Perhaps.  But maybe only from an anthropocentric perspective.  From the Earth’s perspective as an organism,  the necessity of limiting or culling the population of human beings is just a short term response to a temporary problem.  The Earth is 4.5 billion years old.  Man’s hominid ancestors first appeared two million years ago.  Homo Sapiens have only existed on the earth for between ten and twenty thousand years and have only been burning carbon in industrial amounts for about one hundred and fifty years.  This is a very recent and acute problem.   And once the source of warming(carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation) is stabilized, it will take awhile for homeostasis to return.  It could be a thousand years, it could be two thousand years, it could be ten thousand years, or a hundred thousand.  But to the four and a half billion year old earth, this is not a problem. She’s got all the time in the world.  It is us, whose time is limited.


I couldn’t help noticing how the aftermath photos of the fires in Sonoma and Napa looked like the aftermath photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  These devastating fires happening in a paradisiacal part of California, which during my childhood was known for its lush greenness . A fire whose flames were fanned by 75 mph hour winds created by unusually hot air swirling around the regions more native coolness.  Meanwhile the insanely stupid person who is the president looks to start a nuclear war with a country on life support, while taking “climate change” out of the EPA’s vocabulary and demanding that black men don’t protest police brutality before NFL games.

     These images made me think that Kim Jong Un doesn’t have to be able to minituarize a nuclear weapon to mount atop an ICBM to reach our shores, because the nuclear explosion he wishes to release over California is already here.  That’s how dumb he is, and how dumb Trump is.  And just as George W. Bush found his shadow brother in angry rich kid Osama Bin Laden, stupid Donald Trump has found his in the North Korean leader, who continues to invest his countries resources in nuclear weapons, while his capitol city goes without electricity for half of most days because of the sanctions imposed for his nuclear pursuits.

     But, I digress.  In my previous essay, I posited that “Meditation is Psychedelics in slow motion.”  In this one I will present the possibility that global warming is a nuclear armageddon in slow motion.  Over seventy years ago, when nuclear fission was first achieved, it immediately was used for weaponization.  The same mechanics that created the energy release of the Sun were duplicated in order to make bombs. Three years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were reduced to ash and several hundred thousand people were killed, the first nuclear power plant went online.  Unfortunately the real possibilities for humanity that fission made available was never fully realized for the good it could do.  Imagine how different the world’s power grid would be if the resources that has gone into making nuclear weapons, had gone into making cleaner and safer forms of nuclear energy.

     By the time of the first successes with nuclear fission, everything that had ever lived on earth had been living on nuclear power for billions of years.  Man, thinking he had come so far, by splitting the atom, had reinvented the wheel, by reinventing the Sun. The growth of plants by photosynthesis and the animals that ate them and ate other animals on land in water were grown by the Sun.  Almost everything we eat, or have ever eaten can be traced back to Sunlight, the fission occurring in the Sun. Our hydrocarbon energy systems can all be traced back to sunlight.  Photosynthesis which gave live to so many plants and animals, in their deaths and decomposition returned their no longer animated by life carbon, to the ground.  Billions of years of life and death, all dependent upon the Sun, seeped back into the earth.  Plants, trees, grasses, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, dinosaurs, all seeped back into the soil over millions of years and degraded into oil.  And it would have stayed there forever, if through man’s ingenuity, he hadn’t realized what a plentiful energy resource it was.  Man no longer had to burn and relocate wood for energy.  Energy became liquid and could be sent anywhere through pipelines and brought anywhere by ships.  But what had been settled into the terra firma over billions of years was being released into the atmosphere as quickly as humans could burn it.

     Which takes us to where we are today.  With so much carbon having been released the planet has warmed to the point where firestorms that burn a hundred yards every three seconds are unleashed in places like Sonoma and Napa.  It makes me wonder if the scientists on the Manhattan Project weren’t doing something other than what they thought they were doing in the late 1930’s and and early 1940’s.  Perhaps without their knowledge, they were intuiting a symbolic expression of the slow motion Atom Bomb that is global warming.  They were aware of the profundity of recreating the fission that creates Sunlight that gives life to all that has ever lived on Earth. As I stated in an earlier essay, Robert Oppenheimer who was the project coordinator of The Manhattan Project, uttered the famous words from the Bhaghavad Gita, “I am death, destroyer of worlds,” when he witnessed the first atom bomb detonated.  But even though those bombs destroyed two Japanese cities, they were(thankfully) never used again in the seventy two years since.  Thousands of weapons have been built, uncountable resources have been utilized in construction, development, housing, and transportation of them. The financial cost of the world’s nuclear arsenal is almost unquantifiable.  While the United States rushed to make theirs, and Russia theirs, American Nuclear Bombers flew along the coasts of Russia. and Russian Bombers flew towards America, all the while more and more carbon was being released into the environment, and all those bombers really accomplished was burning more carbon.

     Perhaps when Oppenheimer uttered those words, though he thought he was talking about placing atomic bombs into the worlds arsenals, on a deeper level he was speaking for the gathering storm that was being sensed in the furthest reaches of human awarenedd.  It wasn’t the quick concentrated release of the mechanics of the Sun we had to fear, but the slow motion release of the Sun’s byproducts over several hundred years.  I can only imagine what profundity Oppenheimer would have released seeing the world’s forests devastated by fire..  I’m sure it would rivalthe profundity he uttered in New Mexico, when an atomic bomb transformed a sandy desert to a sheet of glass.

     The Bhaghavad Gita is a poem describing a battle that ends in death.  This is life.  Knowing this, knowing how this ends for everybody, and has ended for everybody, I suppose its message is to consider how we are conducting ourselves with knowledge of our ultimate fate.  Perhaps if there is a blessing from global warming that is it.  This process which has been hastened by our ignorance may ultimately be the thing that unites everyone as they see their connection to a tragedy.  Over and over again, in hurricanes, and fires and floods, you see people stripped of a lifetime of belongings and identities, left only with the instinct to help other people.  “I am death, the destroyer of worlds.”


I have been intrigued the last few days by the excerpts from Hilary Clinton’s book.  She seems like she is casting around blame for her loss to Donald Trump.  Sexism, Comey, Trump, the Russians, and even Bernie Sanders don’t escape blame.  But I think Bernie Sanders is right when he says that she ran against the least popular candidate in American History and lost.  I was no fan of either candidate, and I have been caught up in the manic coverage of Trump’s continual failure.  It’s been fascinating and hypnotic.
Politics is in our culture is the most passionately talked about conventional subject. It’s a way that people casually express their deepest-held values.  But it shouldn’t be.  One of the problems with contemporary life is that politics has displaced religion as an expression of our most profound values.  Our religious instinct has been sublimated in our culture and its distorted expression is our political beliefs.

In order to understand this process, it’s important to understand the two expressions of religious life.   The first is the exoteric religious experience.  This is the experience of a group gathering together in a church, synagogue, or mosque.  Exoteric religious rituals are designed to instill a sense of belonging to a social group that shares your beliefs.  In exoteric religious experience, there is an intermediary between you and the experience of the divine. A priest, rabbi, or an imam communicates the will of the divine to you,  and if you wish to receive the favor of the divine,  you do so by following the instructions and participating in the rituals designed by the intermediary.  In our culture, Evangelicals are a very visible bloc of the population that prefers exoteric religion.  Not coincidentally they are also a very motivated politically.  They see their religious beliefs and their political beliefs as the same thing.  The second manifestation of religious life is esotericism.  Esotericism is a personal experience of the divine without an intermediary.  Examples of this are meditation and yoga practices, depth psychology, or in the mystery cults of Alchemy, Astrology, Gnosticism, and events like Grateful Dead concerts or Burning Man.  The esoteric urge is often sublimated in political life(as it was by Hilary Clinton) in progressive humanism.  In recent days she has demonstrated her confusion by stating she is unwilling to grant absolution to those who did not vote(for her).  Absolution is divine forgiveness for sin, and is something granted by priests in Catholicism and Protestantism, it is not something provided by failed political candidates.  Those who consider themselves too sophisticated to belong to a group that seeks an intermediary between them and the divine, often cloak themselves in doing the will of the divine through their policy work.  In its own way, this can be as misguided(but possible more efficacious) as evangelical devotion to bringing to pass what they see as the will of god.

Both expressions dovetail into the sense of disorder you experience when a political candidate that you do not like becomes President.  For evangelicals, that sort of person was Barack Obama, and for Progressive Humanists, that man is Donald Trump.  As upset as you might be by Donald Trump being President, I assure you it would be easy to find people who were similarly upset by the Presidency of Barack Obama.  In the case of Evangelicals, they imagine “their” candidate as an intermediary for the divine.  Likewise with Progressive Humanists, they imagine a like minded President as someone who shares and will enact their values.  The suffering in each case, is a real.

I don’t think too many Evangelicals are going to be reading this essay.  So, I will address progressive humanists.  Of course Donald Trump is an abomination as a person and a President And he has brought a legion of ne’er do wells with him into his administration.  The impact of these people and their policies is real.  But, does Donald Trump being the President, interfere with your experiencing a genuine sense of the divine and it’s interest in you?  I think for many people, it has.  To Carl Jung, all psychological suffering was in fact, religious.  Where there was a disconnection from our Primordial Origins, there was suffering, and it was only by addressing that suffering that we reconnected ourselves to our source, which can be the only source of all well being.  So, if you think it is Donald Trump is making you suffer, look deeper.  Look at how he symbolizes your separation from your origins.  Likewise, from the eastern perspective of Zen Psychology, whatever it is that you attach your unhappiness to, was something that was sought out to reflect your unhappiness back to you. The feeling precedes the experience.  So, If I feel unhappy, I will seek out the experience of things that reinforce that feeling, like Donald Trump being President.  But the unhappiness precedes the Trump Presidency and the suffering I feel it causes me.

I am not advocating being passive about the political process.  Our country provides us the opportunity to express our values and advocate for them in a variety of ways.  What I am advocating is not misunderstanding ones political passions as religious ones.  The origin of the word religion comes from the latin, “to reconnect.”  Our religious instinct(as strong as our instinct for food or sex) results from finding ourselves in the world and it’s experiences and needing to turn back one hundred and eighty degrees toward our origins, and to make real contact with them. That is the only way we can impact on our moment to moment experience, which is something that Donald Trump being President will rarely be able to touch.  It is this re-connection that is the source of all profound comfort.   Without it, we may be left feeling like when we don’t get what we want, our only comfort may be, “Yoga and lots of chardonnay.”  And we all have access to a lot more than that.


“In all chaos there is Cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung

     Of all the inspired genius that went into the founding of the United States, nothing stands above the intuition of mythological realities that went into the democratic vote for a President every four years.  While in their own minds, the founders were trying to avoid the kind of theological fascism that they had escaped in coming to America, what they imagined in its place(whether they realized it or not) was a democratic vote for a secular king. Implicit in their notion of a democratically elected President, was the idea that the populace would elect the most powerful, able and worthy person in all the country to its’ most exalted position. This choice recognized that bestowed power was not something that lasted for a lifetime, and that a king past his prime, whether chosen by the illusion of democracy, or by the decree of something seemingly higher, could not lead a country successfully.

     Since humans were able to stabilize their civilizations with agriculture they have been ruled by kings and queens.  They represent an organizing principle at the center of the city, state, and nation.  The center of a square growing out from a beam of light shining down from Heaven(or the Primordial) around which order takes shape.  Gold Crowns symbolize this anointment, and implies the presence of a sun bonnet that surrounds only the king or queen.   When fate places powerful people in positions of leadership, civilizations thrive.  When kings or queens are not up to the task of holding this ultimate power, civilizations wobble.  This is not just historical fact, it is mythological fact, and is best expressed in the story of Phaeton in Greek Mythology.

      PHAETHON was a youthful son of Helios, who drove the Chariot of the Sun across the sky everyday.  Day after day he begged his father let him drive the chariot of the sun. The god reluctantly conceded to the boy’s wishes and handed him the reigns. But his inexperience proved fatal, for Phaethon quickly lost control of the immortal steeds and the sun-chariot veered out of control setting the earth ablaze. The plains of Africa were scorched to desert and men charred black. Zeus, appalled by the destruction, smote the boy with a thunderbolt, hurling his flaming body into the waters of the River Eridanos.

     It is my belief, that ages of order create great Kings or great Presidents, not the other way around.  Times when order reigns, or order is restored, correspond with the rise of powerful leaders.  In the United States, times of great success or achievement have corresponded with the leadership of extraordinary men.  When America rose up out of slavery and fought a civil war, Abraham Lincoln had been elected and was able to steady America’s wobbling ship.  When America was struggling to get out of the Great Depression, and was needed to help create order in a chaotic Europe, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected.  John Kennedy’s presidency is remembered as “Camelot”, and implied kingship and despite his short reign being ended by regicide, was provided a vision for the late 20th century.  Likewise, Bill Clinton(despite his personal weaknesses) was elected after 12 years of Reagan Bush rule that had revealed their ruling principles to be harmful to the country and stagnating to the economy. Clinton’s reign coincided with the initial internet gold rush, that he could neither have anticipated, nor caused.   Recently Barack Obama was elected, after the trauma of 9/11, an unjust war, and an economy that had been devastated by unpoliced greed and corruption.  His reign was restorative and stabilizing, no matter what your political beliefs.  Examples of these personalities aren’t limited to modern day Democrats, as I’d admit Ronald Reagan appeared in charge and ready to lead after the national humiliation of Watergate, losing the Vietnam War, and the hapless presidency of a very unkinglike Jimmy Carter.

     My premise is that chaos or order creates Presidents.  Not, the other way around.  The rise of a man like Franklin Roosevelt, or Barack Obama, is a harbinger of a larger process taking shape.  So, is the election of a man like Donald Trump.  A man who has surrounded himself with the superficial trappings of kingship his entire life.  A man who has gold leaf covering his garish apartment, and has unconsciously chosen to dye his hair an awful shade of gold to imply a kingship that he has never done anything to be worthy of.  I will not go too far into Trump’s history, or character, that has already been done elsewhere.  I will however point out that Trumps recipe for success contains one major ingredient, and that is chaos.

      Trump’s chaos is evident in everything that he does.  He says and does things almost constantly that are disorienting.  Whether they are disorienting for their lack of manners, their lack of decorum, or lack of respect for established order, creating chaos puts him at an advantage, not just personally, but in the collective.   He creates chaos by disorienting whomever it is that he is wishing to create advantage over.  Even a simple handshake, which is an archetypal gesture meant to inspire feelings of camaraderie and equality becomes an opportunity for him to pull a person off their center, and force them to reorient themselves against his assault.  When France’s President had demonstrated his resistance to his tactic, Trump responded by commenting on his wife’s appearance.  He keeps going till he has the upper hand in the exchange.

     His constant tweeting, and suggestion of inappropriate behavior(asking Russia to find Hilary Clinton’s missing e mails, or asking the Senate to change it’s rules, or demeaning his attorney general ) is designed to keep him in the thoughts of all those who use media, knowing his inappropriateness will be reported far and wide.  His largely unconscious belief is that if you are thinking about him, he has power over you, even if you are faceless and unknown.  This may in fact, presently be true.  Luckily, the laws of the country have been designed with checks and balances, and while it’s possible to challenge rules, it isn’t possible to bully them, because the rules are intractable and have no response to behavior.

     Chaos has been Trump’s calling card his whole life. His self promotion, ceaseless and fact less, of himself as an incredibly successful real estate developer, ignores his multiple bankruptcies, each softened by the greed of new investors who thought they could enrich themselves through an association with him.  His persona is a gold plated shell game.  He has never had a reason to be truthful, because it hasn’t been necessary for his past success.  However, when he became President he began to grapple with forces that were beyond his control.  In Greek Mythology, Chaos grew out of the Primordial, and existed before everything.  The first thing born from Chaos was Gaia(Earth) Taturus(The Underworld) and Eros(love), the son of Aphrodite.  Also born from Chaos was Erebus(Night) and Nyx(darkness).  Trump’s hubris and ignorance of more profound forces than a market economy(despite his claims of extraordinary intelligence) are going to be his undoing.  On cue, he attacked Gaia, through his withdrawal from the Paris Accords, and Eros, through his attack on LGBT rights, making transgender people no longer able to serve a military which he cowardly avoided.  His own descent into the Underworld fast approaches either through his public humiliation through his removal from office(the same descent taken by his hero Richard Nixon), or quite possibly his own claims of virility and health being made to appear absurd by some sort of personal health crises brought on by the stresses of failure.  As Erebus(night) and Nyx(darkness) also come from chaos, don’t be surprised if the coming Solar Eclipse that stretches across the United States on August 21, portends the end of his chaotic reign.

     There is order in chaos.  It indicates something is forming.  Like the first strong gusts of wind that announce a rainstorm is on the way.  Trump is an agency of change, a placeholder for something new on its way.  His mistake is thinking that the change is him, rather than realizing his backward beliefs about economic reality being the only reality that matters will be swept away by the coming storm.   The chaos he has brought and that will continue for awhile is not caused by him, it is caused by the forces of change that placed him into the position of President.  His purpose there is not what he thinks.  It is to demonstrate a lot of the misunderstandings that the country will be leaving behind

        if there is an upside to Trump’s Presidency.  It is that chaos he brings is a chasm between two places.  Trump is failing to make any real or lasting changes to American Society, and as an association with him becomes threatening to their electability, the Republican politicians will distance themselves from his person and his policies.  He has inspired oppositional activism at home and abroad.  Made aware that someone like him could actually be elected, the French rejected Marie Le Pen, and elected a much more progressive thinker, much to Trump’s chagrin.  Trump more than anything is a placeholder, as a newer, younger, and more progressive generation will take over in the times that follow him.  Regressive policies whether they be environmental, social, or financial will be tarred with their association with him for generations to come.

     So what is the best form of resistance to the King of Chaos?  I think resistance is ignoring his constant pleas for attention through your computer and television screens and through your car radio.  Resist him with real activism.  Inspire others to do the same.  Have faith in the structures put in place by the founders of the country.  The structures were put in place to maintain order even in the face of chaotic situations and leaders.  Don’t think about him more than necessary.  Be realistic about how his actions actually affect you.   Starve him off your attention.  Keep him out of your house, your relationships, and the time you have with those you love.  His goal is fascism.  He’d like what he says or does to control what you are thinking about, and how you are thinking. The people who support him have gladly given him this permission.  See the deeper mythological underpinnings of what is presently occurring, and have faith that chaos always brings about a new order.  When that happens, the kind of chaos created by the antics of a dying school yard bully may very well be worth the pain of the arrival of a new order.


I saw that Chester Bennington just committed suicide.  Admittedly, he was not on my radar until I saw that he sang at Chris Cornell’s funeral last month.  I followed a link to see that they had performed together on a song once.  He was obviously incredibly talented.  As his suicide was reported, I read a link to a thoughtful letter he had written to Chris Cornell when he heard about his death.  He chose to hang himself on Chris Cornell’s birthday.

      Suicide is a complicated subject, obviously.  There’s no accounting for the mindset of a person who chooses to take their own life.  But there is a mythology associated with it, that everyone who makes that decision is living by, and that mythology is that your entire experience is your ego.  James Hillman writes extensively about this in Suicide and the Soul. The impetus to suicide is a psychological and mythological desire for rebirth, to be freed of the current state of suffering and all its’ causes into an entirely different state.  It is the desire for an ultimate kind of transformation that is a big part of being human, and it is possible without killing oneself.  What desires to die is present state of the ego, which can at times seem unbearable.  But the ego is a fiction composed of memory, history, conditioned emotional states and patterned thinking.  Throw in trauma, abuse, neglect or any number of experiences of suffering and very difficult state can be created.

     But there is a way out.  The first step is being honest about how one is suffering.  That’s the catalyst of transformation.  Understanding that the experience of suicidal thoughts rise up from the depths of the psyche, from the primordial underworld that draws no distinction between physical life and death. From the places we pretend are not part of our everyday experience.   There, the daylight world of the ego and its’ creations and preferences are not meaningful or given domain over our primordial depths.  Whatever has been assembled in the daylight world of the ego, may or may not be recognized by the primordial as meaningful today, even if it has been in the past.  Whether that be wealth, a thriving career, a family, or public status.  The primordial will give state its opinion about how life is being lived. Its voice will be heard, and it may call for an overthrow of the ego’s dominant state, so that a new paradigm can rule consciousness.  That is the suicidal urge.  Making it literal, is the ultimate tragedy.

     What has to be recognized is that that there is no other life, or other world where this transformation can take place.  It takes place here, and it takes place now, or it does not take place at all.  The primordial depths within each of us reach beyond space and time, and beyond life and death.   They precede this life, follow this life, and are interwoven through this very life.  There is no state of transformation available in death, that is not available in life.  If there is a transformation in death, it is the involuntary lifting of the veil of the ego, as the apparatus that has housed it falls away.  A brain, a body, a nervous system all die, but the consciousness that was anchored to these things floats away from them, no longer fettered by the historical conditioning of physical experience.   But this transformation can happen in life as well, if one is willing to experience oneself freed from the repetitive narrative of family, history, culture and emotional conditioning.  In fact, it is transformation, not accomplishment that the primordial seeks from everyone.  If accomplishment is a by product of this transformation, all the better.

     The suicidal urge can be an enormous opportunity for transformation, or it can literally be a dead end.  If it is felt, enormous changes must be made.  Not little changes, enormous changes.  It must be faced head on.  Life must be looked at as a malleable experience where the only traps are self created, and if one has created a life that has trapped them, they can discover in its blueprints, bridges to another life.  Perhaps a life with different priorities, or a different vocation, different values, and different peers.  But a life nonetheless, not death, where the initial transformations are passive.

     Death is a constant presence in human life.  Carl Jung once said that death surrounds life like the night surrounds the day.  It occurs all the time during our lives, and is constantly rearing its head.   The deaths of loved ones, the deaths of people we know, the deaths of relationships, the deaths of epochs of our lives and ultimately physical death.  It is not to be feared.  The urge to suicide is an awareness of a kind of death.  It is the knowledge that the life we are living no longer reflects our primordial depths, and they are calling for a change,  and we must become something or someone else.

     Metanoia is my favorite word.  It is a Greek word meaning transformation of consciousness.  Literally it means one’s consciousness changes so profoundly that it can’t recognize its former problems as problems, or recognize the dominant state of consciousness that created those problems.  The urge to suicide represents the call for metanoia. It is an admission that the present ego is no longer an appropriate ambassador for the primordial in this life.  It has become outdated and and is no longer aligned with the desires of the primordial.  A new ego, built atop new foundations must be constructed to replace it.   The old ego is….. a dying King.  Let the king die, and all hail the new King.